We all heard this idiom “Selling ice to an Eskimo” many times when you participate in for sales training and conferences and even used by some big shot sales people boasting about their selling capabilities. While on the surface, this seems to be really motivating but have you ever really think about this statement deep enough to understand how wrong it is to sell like that? Let’s find out why you should never try to sell ice to an Eskimo.
The term simply means that you sell anything to anyone regardless if they have the need of it. The selling concept in the evolution of marketing is long gone now, people no longer need you to sell them something. If you really want true success for your business, you should never sell just anything to your customers.
You should focus your energy on building up a good relationship with your customer so that they will come back to you for more in the future, not just as a one-off customer.
In order to do this, you will need to understand the need of the customer and then try to fulfil that need with your product or service.
Sometimes this is not an easy task, it may even take days for you to understand the customer’s needs, sometimes even more. However, the key is that you spend whatever the time to understand the customer better than your competitor and then try to fulfil that need better than the competitor.
Often times salespeople are distracted by the sales targets, these targets keep their eyes off the customer and easily focus on quick-fire sales.
These quick-fire sales will give you an instant boost on the sales but then when it comes to the next round you will have to put the same or more effort to get to the target again and again and again.
Now, what is the big deal about understanding the customer’s needs? why that matters?
Let’s say you sell ice to an Eskimo, can you expect the same person to make the same purchase tomorrow? would you be able to even sell anything else to the same customer afterwards? the trust between you and the customer was broke at the first instance where you sold them the ice. The customer may never want to buy anything from you ever again. Even if you are trying to sell firewood to the same Eskimo, he will not buy from you.
Creating a need that is actually not there will never take you the distance you want to go.
Instead, try to identify the need of the customer, and be innovative to fulfil that need better than the competitors. Be distinct among others, because then you will get brand recognition. Make them talk about your brand more often, make it more memorable. And most importantly, keep them updated even after the purchase, get feedback to further improvements, give them the support they expect.
Never put too much effort for one-off sales, put your efforts on repeated sales that will take you the distance you expect to go.
Focus your time and energy to identify the needs of the customers and then try to find solutions, because at the end the solution will win you more business than just selling a product.